Harris County prosecutor Alan Curry already has said the state will seek a new trial for Yates.
However, the criminal appeals court's decision last week means she cannot be retried on the same two capital murder charges because the jury did not recommend the death penalty.
Parnham said that a "non-death penalty" jury would be more likely to acquit Yates.
"Quite frankly, how many respected psychiatrists are going to be taking the witness stand and testifying that this woman was not legally insane on June 20, 2001?" Parnham said. "I can't think of one. ... There is the one that testified (during the first trial), but, of course, we know that in at least one respect he didn't tell the truth."
Parnham was referring to the prosecution's star witness, Dr. Park Dietz, a forensic psychiatrist and consultant for the Law & Order television series. During his testimony, Dietz said that shortly before drowning her children, Yates had watched an episode of that show about a woman who drowned her children, claimed insanity and was found not guilty.
No such episode of the TV show ever existed.
Jurors in the first trial were informed about Dietz's false testimony before sentencing Yates, but the 1st Court of Appeals said the judge erred in not granting Yates a new trial.
The 1st Court of Appeals wrote: "Dr. Dietz was the only mental health expert who testified that appellant knew right from wrong. Therefore, his testimony was critical to establish the State's case. Although the record does not show that Dr. Dietz intentionally lied in his testimony, his false testimony undoubtedly gave greater weight to his opinion."
Parnham predicted that Dietz will testify in Yates' new trial.
As I said before, the defense has one major advantage it didn't have last time, and that's two subsequent cases to learn from, each of which featured attorneys who based their cases in part on what they gleaned from the first Yates trial. I'm not a betting man, but I'd say that the odds are more favorable to Yates and Parnham this time around.Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 13, 2005 to Crime and Punishment | TrackBack